Friday, February 12, 2010

Designer Politics

Object of Study for the next few months. Now I should cook dinner.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Plotting a Fever

Some updates from the world of girl garage groups. Best Coast have released the first 7" of 2010! It's out on Post Present Medium now and features three tracks. Lead-off track "Something In the Way" is quite old now, but I love it as much as when it got played at Don't Die On My Doorstep way back in 2009. "Wish He Was You" and "The Road" are newer and definitely sound better recorded.

Vivian Girls tour the US again, instead of coming to Sweden like any other sensible band. A new 7" is available from their own Wild World label, as soon as they get back home I guess. You can hear the b-side wich is a cover of The Chantels on Myspace. Sounds great!

The Girls At Dawn have a 7" on Tic Tac Totally on the way. The a-side "Back to You" is embellishing their myspace at the moment, but no cover art has appeared yet.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Castle On the Corner

It was a unique experience playing with Warm Morning under the scorching Piacenza sun at the height of last summer. Unique also, beacause rather than playing with the full band Andrea and Simone made do on their own accompanied only by their acoustic guitars. All the songs sounded new to me, but I assume they played most of what now make up their second album Too Far From the Stars, a self-released lp in 500 numbered copies.

Second album? Yes in 2005 the brothers released an album called Feather, another self-release, but then 6 of the 10 tracks (plus a new song) saw a more proper release as the Silver Rain ep on Shelflife, the first in the 1000 series and the first release by the 'new' Shelflife. A convenient way to get your hands on the remaining songs that made up Feather is to pick up the 3" cd that came out on Series Two last year. Or maybe not all that convenient, since it's part of their ep club, which means you can only get it as part of a parcel of 5 eps by different bands. So that's three of the four other songs accounted for, the last one "Diamond Lies" was on the compilation Series Two Vol. 2 in 2008. Last year a second ep was released on Edition 59, featuring three songs from the upcoming lp.

But now it's here! Definitely a progression from their previous work, it sounds less folky and more like sunshine pop. You can really hear the influence from Roger Nichols that they mention themselves. It is a very ambitious production full of lush orchestration and unusual instruments, and in scope I can only compare it to Butcher Boy's React Or Die among last year's releases. One of my immediate favourites is "Catch the Thrill" with its rim clicking smoothness. "What a Nice Day" is probably the closest to the sound of Silver Rain, all stripped-down folk-rock and banjo solo. "I Curse the Day I Met You" relies on ukelele and piano while building up a complex blanket of sustained notes. Below you'll find another great song, called "I'll Be Fine".

Also ready soon is The Rookies' second album. The Rookies is Italy's best garage revival group since The Others and features Simone on guitar and a singer that looks and sounds like a curly Lenny Helsing. They share The Thanes' love of Dutch freakbeat and on Out of Fashion - released on Teen Sound (run by Massimo of The Others and Misty Lane) in 2005 - they cover The Outsiders, The Bumble Bees and The Motions. There's also a version of the classic "I Want to Live" by Sweden's The Mascots, a brilliant take on "I Don't Care" by Thor's Hammer not to mention some quality originals. For the new album they've given up covers and have focused on developing their own material. The results, judging from the new songs on myspace, are astounding. I can't wait to hear the jangle of "Another Rainy Morning" on vinyl!

CLOUD 113 Warm Morning - I'll Be Fine

Monday, February 1, 2010

I Don't Know Where You Live But You Aren't Living

If I were you (or maybe if you were me) you should pick up the amazing split cassette from Obeast Tapes (great name!) featuring Handglops and Sea Lions. It's only made in 100 copies, came out in November and not many are left! You can get it from Sea Lions' myspace, or Obeast HQ. This is how they describe the packaging: "Each tape comes hand numbered with full color, fold out, reversible j-cards and color labels on translucent blue tapes." Now, doesn't that make you smile? Well, maybe not.

A truly lo-fi release, it was recorded in a garage and the hiss is loud - even the download you get is a low bitrate one! It's quite an uneven split, with 6 tracks from Sea Lions and only 4 from Handglops. But since it's the Sea Lions side that makes it worth the purchase (only 3 bucks anyway, the artwork alone would be worth that!), who am I to argue? Only "I Wish I Was Lou Reed" is on their myspace now, but if you visited it a few weeks ago you would have heard the brilliant "I Loved Her So Much" as well.

No need to pout though, Sea Lions have uploaded 3 new very promising tracks: "Real Swell Time", "You Don't Know" and the Orange-Juice-class "A Cloud". According to the topmost blog post you can get a free cd or tape of songs if you send Adrian a stamped envelope! Maybe those songs would be on it? Also, both tracks from the split-12" with Watercolor Paintings that I mentioned last year are up for your listening pleasure. It still hasn't been released by YAY!, but since Sea Lions just keep getting better it will be a guaranteed purchase once it is.